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A Must See

Must See: Broadway Legacy Returns With New 2.0 Edition

Drew Shade

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If you follow us on twitter then you know we’ve become major fans of Broadway Legacya digital catalogue that celebrates African American theatre. When the first set of visuals were released we were in overjoyed at the class and simplistic regalness of it all. This  project is led by Broadway Black renaissance man Christian Dante White (The Book of Mormon, Scottsboro Boys) and the photographer responsible for such stunning images is Brent Dundore. 

Check out the images for the 2nd round of the legacy, or Broadway Legacy 2.0 as its titled, below.True to form, Broadway Legacy chooses a well rounded group of leads & legends. You’ll see a new group of newbies and veterans that are making their mark and creating history on The Great White Way. You’ll also noticed that this is the first group of women Broadway Legacy has done and it’s a fine group at that. Tony Award winners Adriane Lenox (After Midnight, Doubt)& LaChanze (If/Then, The Color Purple) are among the group, along with Amber Iman (Soul Doctor), Marisha Wallace (Something Rotten), Chondra Profit,(The Lion King), Marva Hicks (Motown: The Musical, Caroline, Or Change)  Patrice Covington (Motown: The Musical National Tour), Krystal Joy Brown (Motown: The Musical, Big Fish) Kimberly Marable (Sister Act, The Lion KingCandice Marie Woods (Nice Work If You Can Get ItCatch Me If You Can), Crystal Joy (Motown: The Musical), Aisha De Haas (Caroline, Or Change, One Mo’ TImeCapthia Jenkins (Newsies: The MusicalCaroline, Or Change), Nikki Renee Daniels (Book Of Mormon, Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess), Krisha Marcano (Motown: The Musical, The Color Purple),  Maia Nkenge Wilson (The Book of Mormon, The Color Purple)

 

And let’s not forget about the new group of Legacy Men! Jesse Nager (Motown: The Musical, Mary Poppins), Brandon Victor Dixon (Motown: The Musical, The Color Purple), Clifton Davis (AladdinTwo Gentlemen of Verona), Michael McElroy (Next To Normal, RentBig RiverMaurice Murphy (Motown: The Musical, Leap Of Faith), Grasan Kingsberry (Nice Work If You Can Get It, Leap Of Faith)

 

Broadway Legacy was created and directed by Christian Dante White in collaboration with celebrity photographer Brent Dundore.Together they embark a goal of creating an online historical catalogue of art and information, celebrating African American theatre. This is the 2nd of installment to the collection and will continue as an on going celebration of artists. Bi-Weekly we will feature a legacy individual please follow us on twitter/facebook/instagram for featurettes.
Art Director & Created by Christian Dante White
Photography by Brent Dundore
Style Consultant John Eric Parker
Web Design by Elijah Ahmad Lewis with LaCrafts Creations
Drift Studios
Please visit Broadwaylegacy.com & BrentDundore.com for more 
Twitter/Facebook @BroadwayLegacy @BrentDundore @BroadwayLegacyIG
They’ve done it again! It looks amazing!
We are so looking forward to seeing more editions to this wonderful work! Keep your eye on them. We’re sure there will be more single shots of each Legacy member coming soon. Bravo Broadway Legacy!

Founder/Editor-In-Chief of BroadwayBlack.com | Actor | Artist | 1/3 of @OffBookPodcast | Theatre connoisseur | All Audra Everything | Caroline over Change | I'm Not Charl Brown | Norm Lewis is my play cousin | Producing an all-black production of Mame starring Jenifer Lewis in my head

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A Must See

We Were There: Sojourners & Her Portmanteau

Jerrica White

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Playwright, educator, opera singer, and Queen, Mfoniso Udofia has two plays running at New York Theatre Workshop. *pause* TWO PLAYS. In the SAME season!?!? *ends congratulatory gasp* Sojourners and Her Portmanteau are performed in repertory, as two chapters of Udofia’s sweeping, nine-part saga, The Ufot Cycle.  Admittedly, before researching each show, I didn’t know the definition of either word; and in the spirit of keeping it consistent with the honesty, I didn’t like either play. I loved them.

Sojourners

Minimalism seems to be the name of the game these days.  I sat down to a completely black stage, sans a multimedia display lodged on the ceiling at a 45-degree angle.  Clutching my all white program and bobbing my head to the ‘70s pop rock pre-show music, I prepared my heart for the story of Sojourners, well at least that was the plan.  The stage begins to rotate and we meet Abasiama (Chinasa Ogbuagu) and Ukpong (Hubert Point-Du Jour), Nigerian expatriates sojourning in Houston, Texas with the plan to start a family, earn their degrees, and go back to Nigeria until life happens.

Charming and handsome, Ukpong becomes defined by his leather jacket, shoulder work and shimmy which match the fascination and yearning for freedom that illuminates his eyes every time he talks of peace, protest, and Prince–all shaping his view of 1970s America, and consequently, the American Dream.  But does leather compensate for grit? Is a movement or vibe really a panacea for disappointment, aimlessness, and a need to find yourself?  Abasiama enters the play pregnant, purposed, and outfitted in pieces of Nigerian garb, grounded in duty showing a stark contrast to Ukpong who floats in desire.  What’s lost in your household is found elsewhere, and this is when we start to see, and root for, Abasiama’s transformation from timid to tenacious.

Enter Moxie (Lakisha May), a colorful prostitute turned protector and friend.  There is a mutual respect despite great differences between her and Abasiama, with their love for one another creating moments that make you believe in the beauty of humanity.  Enter Disciple (Chinaza Uche), another warm and determined hearted immigrant who has come to the United States to study, rounding out the timely additions of love, support, and security when Abasiama needed them the most.

Through and through this is Abasiama’s story and she glows.  Her kindness, her sisterhood, her strength, her worthiness, and the realization of her American Dream, guide her decisions—which is the catalyst behind the entire Ufot Cycle.

Her Portmanteau

Her “portmanteau”, or red suitcase, makes a return as 30 years have passed.  Abasiama now has two daughters, one raised in America and the other who has come from Nigeria to reconnect with her family.

This is a good moment to mention that each story is informed by the other, but can certainly stand alone on substance, content, and the amazing direction of Ed Sylvanus Iskandar.  The staging is exciting and deliberate, while minimal, putting the full focus on the tension and growth to be expected of a family reunited after a substantial amount of time and distance.

Chinasa Ogbuagu returns to the stage, this time as the American-born daughter, Adiagha Ufot, Adepero Oduye as Iniabasi Ekpeyoung (Ukpong and Abasiama’s daughter), and Jenny Jules as the mother, Abasiama Ufot.

Seated on a couch in Adiagha’s small New York Apartment, no amount of preparation readies your mind and spirit to form the words to make up for 30 years of life, connection, and memories missed.  We’re taken on a ride of resentment, hurt, love, and forgiveness, as the portmanteau is literally unpacked.  We watch the teeter-tottering between offense and defense as one sister tries to assimilate into American culture, and the other attempts, albeit stubbornly, to fall in formation in honoring a family she shares blood with, but little time or tangible history.

It’s powerful to see a story of history and continuing a legacy despite lost time, faulty promises, and difficult choices explored with an all-woman cast as far too often the idea of legacy is framed in patriarchy.  Jules admirably takes Abasiama through the fire to heal, to feel, and to fix her family.  The narrative allows us to empathize and understand the struggle that comes with upholding family values versus cultivating a space to achieve personal dreams and happiness.

Her Portmanteau (and Sojourners) is written in a way that finds your soul, gently massaging it with humor, while leaving it with very real questions.  I’ve never felt a greater need to binge read nine stories and simultaneously study the story of my own family tree. I left changed. I left wrapped in the strength of my mom and my mom’s- mom’s sacrifice.  I left pensive and with seeds of future forgiveness planted.  I left changed.

For capturing our hearts with wit and with truth.  For putting Black women at the center of a poignant narrative.  For unapologetically telling a story you haven’t seen told and telling it in the way you want it to be told.

We thank you Mfoniso.  We thank you.

Have you seen the #duetplays? Sound off in the comments below![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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A Must See

Our Story in 2 Plays for 1 Price: Mfoniso Udofia’s Sojourners & Her Portmanteau

Jerrica White

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Last winter, we reported on Sojourners by playwright Mfoniso Udofia, a new play about a Nigerian family who has come to America with the goal of earning a college education, starting a family, and returning to Nigeria. But not without the twists and turns that come along with every plan that seems straightforward.

Image result for Sojourners and Her Portmanteau

Thanks to New York Theatre Workshop, we get to relive this moment and continue the dialogue, decades later, with Her Portmanteau. Performed in repertory, these two chapters of Udofia’s sweeping, nine-part saga, The Ufot Cycle, chronicle the triumphs and losses of the tenacious matriarch of a Nigerian family.

Ed Sylvanus Iskandar directs the two-part story in association with The Playwrights Realm, who premiered Sojourners last winter in a limited engagement world premiere production. Her Portmanteau also received the 2016 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award grant.

The cast includes Jenny JulesLakisha Michelle MayAdepero OduyeChinasa OgbuaguHubert Point-Du Jour, and Chinaza Uche.

As if that wasn’t enough to get excited about, we have an exclusive deal for our Broadway Black readers!

Our Story in 2 Plays for 1 Price!

Yes. That’s two shows for one price! The discount code BWYBLACK will take 50% off tickets to ANY performance(s) if purchased by May 15th! 

Go ahead and grab your tickets. We have ours!

Sojourners and Her Portmanteau plays at NYTW until June 4th.

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Twitter: @BroadwayBlack

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